An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with its five mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day. On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than sea fog, gangsters, cheap drugs and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides. And although there's supposed to be a temporary truce between Stewart and the town's biggest crime family, it's soon clear that only Stewart is taking this promise of peace seriously. Before long a quick drop into the cold grey Stoun begins to look like the soft option, and as he steps back into the minefield of his past to confront his guilt and all that it has lost him, Stu uncovers ever darker stories, and his homecoming takes a more lethal turn than even he had anticipated.
Tough, funny, fast-paced and touching, Stonemouth cracks open adolescence, love, brotherhood, and vengeance in a rite-of-passage novel like no other.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Steve on 28-04-12
Revenge and Regret on the Scottish Coast
Regarding Audiobooks, I have resisted the urge until this point as I have a dubious habit of poring over the intricately formed sentences that my favourite writers have created. I wasn't the least bit sure I would be able to concentrate on a storyteller reading to me at a pace I may not have been comfortable or familiar with. I wallow in fiction, especially when layered so carefully, as most of Banks' work undoubtedly is.
And Stonemouth is no different in this respect. Banks readers have been spoilt for years with the power of his ability to entrance and displace his readers into whatever world he has created for them. Here, in a small coastal town near Aberdeen, we meet Stewart Gilmour, tentatively creeping back home after being chased away five years previously for reasons that will become apparent. The slow burn narrative of the main plotline is the bone that the rest of Banks' flourishes cling to. And what flourishes! Stonemouth comes alive, witty and funny, bristling and feisty like its weather and the wake of its coast, spewing characters that are wonderfully imperfect and immaculately rendered.
The story is simple, but it is in the detail that fans will revel. A paintball fight, a view of the Stoun over the suspension bridge, an innocent game of pool gone awry. All deftly handled by a man who continues to create reality from the unbelievable, painting polaroids in your head. By the end of the story, I was genuinely upset that my time in Stonemouth was over.
None of this would have been possible without the talents of narrator Peter Kenny. I was blissfully relieved, despite my previously mentioned fears, when this warm, smooth Scottish accent greeted me. His range, pace and urgency were all absolutely in keeping with Banks' superlative attention to detail. His timing and intonation were the perfect accompaniment for both the incredulous humour and the often brooding meance.
This may have been my first Audiobook, but thanks to Kenny, it won't be my last.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
By Nick Moore on 08-07-13
No fireworks but a slow burner
This story seems to have divided opinion with some saying it was the best they'd ever read and others that it wasn't worthy of the Banks name. I fall somewhere between the two extremes, thinking that it was a very good attempt at describing the social interaction of people who have been brought together for whatever reason and are not that comfortable in each other's company.
The fact that the story bubbles along with an undercurrent of potential menace is a device that works well for me but I can see that others might be longing for something dramatic to happen.
Things do happen of course but perhaps not at the pace that some would like.
I enjoyed it and Peter Kenny's reading made it even more enjoyable for me.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sam on 19-04-12
strong characters with plenty of grit
Iain Banks is a genius and Peter Kenny presents his works perfectly. Kenny brings out every nuance and has a voice that seems to merge with the text and creates a full blooded technicolour rendition of the story.
No only is this a great audiobook, it is yet more evidence that we need to see the rest of Iain Banks' substantial bibliography brought online. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Mark on 22-07-12
Another great Iain Banks story read by Peter Kenny
Where does Stonemouth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
The plot moves swiftly (the book covers a 3 - 4 day period) and there are several unexpected events. The authors slow revelation of the main characters history was good.
What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?
Peter Kenny's performances are consistently good.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Some people never forgive....
Any additional comments?
2 of 7 people found this review helpful